William Hill to sell Australian wagering operation to CrownBet

Mar 7, 2018 10:47 AM

William Hill, prompted by a ban on so-called credit betting has agreed to sell its Australian wagering operation to Melbourne-based CrownBet.

Philip Bowcock, chief executive, said the sale would enable William Hill to focus on its planned entry into a nationwide market in the U.S. and its significant operation in the United Kingdom. William Hill has been operating in Nevada since 2012 with more than 100 sports wagering outlets and is poised to open in New Jersey’s Monmouth Park horseracing track should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the current law banning single-team wagering in every state except Nevada.

The deal values the division at $223 million(US) on an enterprise basis, which includes debt.

The bookmaker first entered the Australian market in 2013, but the ban on credit betting, in which gambling firms extend lines of credit for bettors and the threat of a new tax, led to the company booking a $330 million(US) impairment charge on the division last month.

William Hill said the deal needs to be approved by foreign investment and gambling regulators in Australia. Speculation remains on possibility of the company’s UK rival, Ladbrokes Coral, following William Hill’s lead in an Australian exit.

William Hill said it would use the proceeds of the sale to cut its debt and invest in growing the rest of the business.